AUSTIN, Texas - As COVID-19 cases in Austin surge, it is looking like an all hands on deck situation, especially if trends continue.
"Looking at admission numbers, surge, and looking at hospitalization numbers, I think it is a real possibility we will need to open additional beds and we will need physician staffing," said Dr. Nancy Foster of the Travis County Medical Society.
The president of the group of 4,300 active and retired physicians issued a beckoning call to its members and other doctors.
"This letter is really more of a search for potentially available positions should we reach a staffing need. We are not at that capacity yet but our need to start preparing for that is real," said Foster.
The TCMS has been in touch with Austin Public Health, which says ICU beds are low in number, and they are prepared to use the convention center if things get worse.
Foster has hope this call will work. "Last spring when COVID started we sent out a survey to our membership to see who would be able to help in any capacity. We had a wonderful response. Over 270 physicians responded. Right now we are looking for those that are more qualified to do active inpatient care," said Foster.
This comes as there is not only a surge to face but a new variant of the coronavirus called B117, which has made its way to Harris County.
"Viruses change constantly and I think that is something we can expect with any virus, like we do the flu virus. Our scientists are being very careful to evaluate this and to make adjustments and recommendations based on new emerging strains," said Foster.
The vaccine is still being rolled up slowly but surely, in the meantime, the community will need to flatten the curve.
"We are communicating with Austin Public Health, with public leaders, everyone is working together on this. The way we will get through this is to have our community support," said Foster.